Canada will co-host 2026 World Cup with U.S. and Mexico as United bid prevails
For 32 years Canadian soccer fans have been dreaming about returning to the World Cup.
At 6:50 a.m. eastern time on Wednesday in Moscow, they learned the World Cup would be coming to them.
The United bid of the United States, Canada and Mexico received 67 per cent of the vote from the 68th FIFA Congress to beat the Morocco bid 134-65. There was one vote cast for neither of the two bids.
“We are all united in football, the beautiful game transcends borders and cultures. Football today is the only victor,” said U.S. Soccer president Carlos Cordeiro, fighting back tears as he spoke to the FIFA Congress after winning the bid.
The 2026 World Cup will be the first 48-team tournament and will feature 80 matches.
The bulk of the matches will go to the United States. The United bid announced from the outset that the United States would host 60 of the 80 matches and that Mexico and Canada would each host 10 matches.
Those numbers, along with the final host venues, are ultimately up to FIFA. Whether all three host countries earn an automatic bid to the tournament is also in their discretion, but there has never been a World Cup where the host nation was not involved.
The United bid video suggests that they would propose three opening day matches in each of the host nations with the matches played in Toronto, Mexico City and Los Angeles.
The 48-team format would see 16 groups of three teams, with two from each group advancing to a 32-team knockout round.
There are 23 cities in the United proposal, but that will be whittled down to 16 for the tournament.
Canada’s proposed venues are Montréal’s Olympic Stadium, Edmonton’s Commonwealth Stadium and Toronto’s BMO Field which would be expanded to a capacity of 45,000 in time for the tournament.
Mexico’s proposed stadiums are Estadio BBVA Bancomer (Monterrey), Estadio Azteca (Mexico City) and Estadio Akron (Guadalajara).
There were 17 American cities in the bid proposal. The smallest — Camping World Stadium in Orlando (65,000) — and the largest — the Rose Bowl in Los Angeles (88,432) — stadiums are the only non-NFL stadiums in the bid.
All of the stadiums in the United bid have already constructed.
By contrast, the Morocco bid planned to build seven new stadiums. Five of those would have been modular stadiums, which would have allowed them to limit the number of white elephants by reducing capacity after the World Cup ended.
The United bid promised $11 billion in profits compared to $5 billion for Morocco. The Moroccan bid also outlined $15.8 billion in infrastructure spending.
Despite the difference in infrastructure and profit margins, the Moroccan bid earned some high-profile endorsements from major European and African nations. Playing at Greenwich Mean Time was attractive for European television and the bid offer limited travel time with every host city an hour’s flight away from Casablanca.
This was the fifth time that Morocco failed to win a World Cup bid, having run unsuccessfully in 1994, 1998, 2006 and 2010.
The United bid presentation opened with 17-year-old Canadian star Alphonso Davies telling his story of being born in a refugee camp in Ghana to moving to Edmonton at the age of five.
“When I was five years old, a country called Canada welcomed us in and the boys on the football team made me feel at home,” Davies told the FIFA Congress.
Canadian Soccer Association president Steven Reed also addressed the Congress.
Ultimately 203 FIFA members voted. The four bid nations did not vote and the three American territories of Guam, Puerto Rico and US Virgin Islands excused their voting rights.